Saturday, February 25, 2012

rejoicing with csb

Christ School Bundibugyo is a gem that has the focus of God’s heart and is the center of our hope for what God is doing in Bundibugyo. The Old Boys and Old Girls (alumni) have been particularly encouraging to me these past few months...

We just promoted one of the Old Boys, Francis Katuramu, to be our Deputy of Administration at the school. He grew up through CSB, went off to get a degree and returned to be a teacher. He has shown a heart of service and integrity and works tirelessly to help Edward run the school.

Sunday Godfrey is a son of one of the Bible Translators and has recently returned to the district as well. He has started a small NGO called Bundibugyo Hand of Hope (BuHaHo). We have sat together several times discussing how to help the poor, the orphans and those with HIV. Amy recently went with Godfrey and his wife to a village way up into the mountain to share clothes and the Gospel.

John is another graduate who 3 years ago started a primary school in a village that did not have a school with a regular teacher. The school is now thriving with over 100 students and 7 teachers.

Isaiah graduated last December and is someone who with a deep heart of compassion. He had great grades and is hoping to go to nursing school to use medicine to love people for Jesus. He will not start until next September. In the meantime, Isaiah is working with Edward at the school helping develop a discipleship curriculum and me in the health center translating for the patients and learning medicine. He is great to have around.

Christ School is one of the ministries that is such a huge dream and requires so many resources to run, it feels it is always a small step from falling part. Yet, after 15 years it is still here and growing. 2011 was a year of huge transition for Christ School with it being my first full year as CSB Chairman, Edward’s first year as Head Teacher and we had 10 new teachers to replace the ones that left in 2010. I was very fearful of how the year would end and how the students would perform. It was a rocky start, but the year ended well and through Edward’s leadership, the focus of the school was brought back to mentoring students “to be servant leaders for the good of Bundibugyo and God’s glory,” and not just performers for National school exams. Though this is most important, I still fretted about how the students would perform on the exams. In Uganda, acceptance into post-secondary school is completely reliant upon exam scores. If you are not in the top 20% of the nation, you do not go to university. With the new teachers and Edward and I just learning how to run a school, my expectations were low.

But today we are rejoicing as we received our students’ scores! We had the best scores ever in the history of Christ School Bundibugyo! Out of 57 students, 39 (68%) qualified to go to university! We also had 11 students achieve the highest division, which may qualify them for a scholarship (important for children in our impoverished area). Of all tests, we had a 92% pass rate and no overall failures- 100% graduation rate! What an achievement as several of the students who were high achievers had been admitted from primary schools where they were barely literate. What a tribute to the excellence of their teachers and the students' hard work.

I am floored, overwhelmed and thankful. Edward and I commented to each other that we cannot take any credit for this. It is a true story of God’s faithfulness to us, our school and our students!

cmda conference

From Travis:
The past few weeks have been a wonderful blessing of family time and learning. Every two years, the Christian Medical and Dental Association puts together a conference for medical professionals serving in Africa. It is designed to bring people together to compare notes on ministries, connect African serving professionals with professionals working in the States and to gain the required Continuing Medical Education Credits to maintain our licensing. I loved it and felt like a kid in a candy store going from seminar to seminar and meeting person after person. We have been praying about starting a Neonatal Care Unit in the Nyahuka Health Center and I received some great advice on how that might happen and what we would need. We also planned our restarting of the Outpatient malnutrition programs and the Maternal Health programs. Perhaps we have gotten a little too excited about what we can do, but its nice to start dreaming of what could happen. We also got to stay next to our good friends Brett and Sherry McLean who are doing amazing things in West Africa. I think Patton would have jumped on the plane with them and their three boys given a chance. Thanks CMDA.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Grands

We were all blessed by the time we had with my parents in Kenya. It was so special to see them spending special time with each grandchild. Lilli, Patton, and Aidan love their Mimi and Papa dearly and we will always cherish the memories we made with them!
Lilli feeds a giraffe at the Nairobi Giraffe Sanctuary.
And Patton does too!
Even Aidan feeds the giraffe.
My parents, avid tea drinkers and gardeners, especially loved staying at the tea farm.

My father, who has been to Kenya 9 times now, preached at a church in Thika.
Dad and I spent a day visiting a local health center and the New Dawn High School, run by a friend of his, Irene.
A highlight of our time together way a walking safari on Crescent Island, a special way to spend my birthday!

Living on a tea farm

As children were not allowed at the CMDA conference, we sought accommodation outside of it. We were blessed to stay at a nearby tea farm, hosted by a patient and gracious 4th generation tea farmer. We were cozy in our one room, but were so grateful to be there and to spend time with our friends who serve as medical missionaries in Mali.
TyeDye with other missionary kids is alway so fun!
Lilli cheered on her best Bundi buddy, Julia at the RVA soccer match. RVA won!
Lilli and Pamela loved learning among such gorgeous gardens.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

city life

In an attempt to recapture the last month, here are some photos of time in Kampala, Kenya, and back again.
So fun! We enjoyed "Tin Tin", our second movie in a theater in the past two years.
Pamela's first experience as a teacher on the road. Rwenzori Moving School meeting at the Red Chilli Hideaway Hostel in Kampala.


Our bags were packed. The car was loaded. The shutters were shut. The keys were handed over. The long checklist was ticked off. We were beginning our long journey out of Bundibugyo for the medical conference in Kenya. But Lilli yelled, "Bella had a puppy!" Lilli, our future veterinarian who once sat patiently for three hours to watch DMC produce a calf, had witnessed Bella deliver a puppy and then carry it to her birthing box. However, the excitement turned to deep sadness as the puppy was too young to survive. And so were the three puppies that followed. Bundibugyo is a hard place to survive, even for puppies.

We are thankful for a team that has continued to care for her (and the chameleons!) as we are in Kenya. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but to care for a dog!

As we were driving away from one sadness, another greeted us. I have tried to keep tabs on the progress of the road coming. The road has moved past the Sempaya entrance of the Semiliki National Park which means that is really is coming towards us. However, it brings the loss of the great giant trees of the rainforest. These trees are beautiful, towering, and a life source for many of the ecosystem here. Travis even tried to speak to the Chinese foreman about trying to save one of the trees. Our hearts were heavy as we left the district.

We are getting more familiar with loss. We are learning to name it, grieve it, and ask God to take it and redeem it. We look forward to the day when there will be no more death, even for puppies and trees. What a day that will be!

Can you see the dusty outline of a pacifier? Evidence of dry season travel with windows only air conditioning.

uncle john

It's not everyday that your best friend says goodbye to his wife and precious boys and travels halfway around the world to see you. But that day, or actually day and a half, happened for Travis as his best buddy John came to Bundi! John had been volunteering his urology expertise through an American ngo that enables doctors to serve on a short term trip in developing nations. After completing urology surgeries in the capital Kampala, it was time for him to come out to Bundi for some bush life and medicine!

Before their mountain biking and hike to Ngite Waterfall
It is always so hard to say goodbye to dear friends whom we have long known and loved. Thanks, John, for making it out to see us! Blessings to you and your family!

med senders

We recently welcomed Rick Allen, the President of MedSend ( and Byron Campbell of to Bundibugyo. MedSend's mission is "to enable healthcare providers to work where they have been called, unencumbered by educational debt, and to monitor their progress in their roles as healthcare providers, teachers and examples." Years ago, the Myhres registered WHM to be an affiliated organization for MedSend recipients. Today, two physicians, Dr Travis Johnson and Dr Jessica Ankney, are enabled to serve the poorest of the poor in Bundibugyo through the support of MedSend. We are grateful for the vision and mobilization of MedSend and are very encouraged by the recent visit of Rick and Byron.

Rick and Byron brought encouragement and laughter. The also exhibited flexibility when their flight arrived too late to Entebbe to charter the MAF flight into Bundi. So, they hopped in a cab and spent the night in Kampala and then flew in the next morning. When Byron, a very tall man, got out of the plane, the hundred curious and watching children screamed in Lebwisi "Are you going to eat me?" Possibly, they had never seen a man so tall! He smiled and waved to them with the standard American wave where one closes and opens ones hand. However, in African culture, that means "come here". So, as they were asking if he would eat them, he motions for them to come to him!
Byron exits the small MAF plane.
Byron and Rick were eager to see Bundi and Byron rode on the top of the vehicle in his entrance!

Photos of MedSend supported doctors, Travis and Jessica, courtesy of Byron

I was personally touched by Byron's question to us after visiting the town and touring the health center. He was genuinely moved to action and asked us to create a wish list of ministry needs that he could help mobilize others toward meeting. Rick offered words of encouragement and timely wisdom about leadership and service. We are so grateful for their visit and for their hard work in publicizing and enabling healthcare workers to be able to serve Jesus in hard places.
Webele mono!